Lean Body Studio founder Kelli Rapaski might #trainlikeaBABE, but she packs a mighty punch. From starting her fitness studio in her basement to opening multiple retail spaces with another in the works, Rapaski shares her career journey, fitness tips and more with SEEN
By Rachel Schostak
Photography by Allison farrand
Kelli Rapaski built her business from the ground up — literally. “Lean Body Studio started in my basement,” says the 32-year-old Birmingham resident, who packed women into her home studio multiple times a week for four years before opening her first retail space two years ago in Royal Oak. “I wanted to prove to myself that I could create the community before jumping into a brick-and-mortar location.”
Challenge met: Rapaski’s women-only gym, which offers partner-based, high-intensity interval training, has been so successful that she launched a second location, in Kalamazoo; a third site, called Studio B, recently opened in the same complex as the original LBS to offer private training and child care. Next up: Rapaski is looking to expand to the Novi and Brighton/South Lyon area. “I went from having a book of 30 clients well over 1,600 now,” she says. “We can’t wait to see where 2020 takes [us].”
1. Tell us about your background. Since graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in dietetics in 2008, I’ve worked in the wellness space everywhere from Las Vegas and New York to Chicago and, now, Detroit. I’ve done nutritional counseling, health coaching, [personal] training at boutique studios and also worked in corporate wellness. I learned so much from each arena and married certain concepts together to create the Lean Body Studio.
2. How does The Lean Body Studio work? The Lean Body Studio is a women only, partner-based high intensity interval training studio that combines both strength and cardio for a heart pumping, calorie burning 50 min class! We are a pay-as-you go, package based studio so clients are not locked into a membership.
3. What makes LBS unique? Our uniqueness comes from our family-driven mindset. We want to know who you are, what your goals are, what you struggle with and how we can help you. I trained clients one-on-one for so long and I longed for connection in a group setting. I wanted to create a “safe space” for women of all levels to come and get a great sweat on, without judgement, and be surrounded by an amazing group of women.
4. As we kick off 2020, what are some easy fitness goals we can set for ourselves? Start small and attainable and look at one week at a time. Plan out your weekly workouts like you would any other meeting and try to recruit a buddy. Accountability is key and such a great tool for success.
5. What are your goals for the business or personal fitness routine as we begin the new year? We just launched our Studio B location with childcare so we are really focused on getting that up and running and helping as many Lean Body Baby mamas as we can! The waitlists were growing and the need for childcare was brought up almost daily so when a space became available in the same complex, we jumped at the opportunity! We just opened in November and have been running more classes, doing more private sessions and offering childcare for busy class times to our clients and our staff! It’s been an awesome addition and we can’t wait to see where 2020 takes both studio spaces. My daughter LOVES going to the “Baby Cave” and I love being able to get my workout in/ teach knowing that she is close by and having fun!
As a mom, it’s so incredibly hard to balance it all and if we can give just an hour of help so that one of our clients can get a workout in, its worth it for us! Growth and expansion are always top of mind for me! I thrive on chaos and LOVE a challenge so we’re always looking for ways to improve.
6. Any upcoming plans for the studio in the coming year? We have a few things up our sleeves for the New Year! We are working on adding a few locations in Metro Detroit, so you’ll just have to stay tuned!
7. Can you share some tips for people who want to boost their health this year? One, find balance — mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Figure out what makes you feel the best, surround yourself with positive people and say “no” when you need to. Self-care is not selfish. Two, eat more nutrient-dense foods and less refined sugar. Three, move every day, whether that’s a class, a walk, stretching or breathing. You don’t have to kill yourself in the gym to see results. Lastly, aim for progress, not perfection.
8. Who inspires you in the business / fitness world? Locally in the business world, Kelli Coleman from The Ten Nail Bar is someone I look up to in SO many ways. She is the true definition of #boss and she inspires me to rise above hardships, keep my head down and grind! She is such a beautiful person inside and out!
9. Who are YOUR “must follows” on social media / Instagram? I have so many in the wellness and fashion industry that I love to follow! @eatwellwithsari, @thehealthyB, @thatwellthylife, @andreaxtendbarre, @press.startnutrion, @lindsilanestyle, @sincerelyjules, @melissawoodhealth, @jordanunderwood. So many boss babes! I’m loving this woman empowerment movement going on right now.
Finish the statements below…
10. The key to a healthy body is…a healthy mind!
11. A Lean Body Studio class… a day, keeps the doctor away! Shameless plug there, but it’s speaking towards the “move everyday” concept. Whether that’s a class, a walk, stretching or breathing exercises, just keep that body moving/ working.
12. How would you describe your style? Classically edgy.
13. Can you share some of your favorite athletic/active or sportswear brands? Ultracor, Koral, Lululemon, Montiel, Beyond Yoga.
14. What’s your go-to outfit? When I’m not sporting leggings, you can find me in ripped jeans, Golden Goose sneakers and a sweater or jacket. I’m also a sucker for a leather pant, bodysuit and heels. I love any excuse to dress up.
16. Where do you enjoy shopping locally? I’m a Nordstrom girl through and through, but downtown Birmingham has some great boutiques also. Found Objects and Lola B are favorites for me, and Egg and Lil Rascals for my daughter.
17. What can you can never leave home without? I never leave home without mascara on, a watermelon Hint water, Sol de Janeiro chapstick and sneakers (you never know when workout inspo will strike!)
18. Finish this sentence. You’re never fully dressed without… Confidence!
19. What’s your pump-up song? Music is such a big part of my life. I have so many favorites but when I need to get pumped up, rap is always my go to. Lil Wayne – “Right above it” or more recently, Drake – “Nonstop” can always get me going. I am constantly listening to music.
20. What’s your local go-to for breakfast, lunch and dinner? I am at Commonwealth more often than I care to admit for breakfast/lunch. Toast is also a breakfast favorite. Dinner spots locally would have to be Tallulah, Phoenicia or Luxe if I have my daughter with me.
21. Where can we find you when you’re not working? I’m bopping around with my 3-year-old daughter, Londyn, or out with friends in Birmingham or Detroit. I’m a sucker for a packed social calendar.
22. What are some words to live by this year? Choose gratitude, always. There’s a message in every mess. You just have to look hard enough to find it.